Transcription factor

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Transcription factors help to regulate genes. Each transcription factor binds to a specific DNA sequence. That is how they control the rate of transcription of genetic information from DNA to messenger RNA.[1][2]

Transcription factors are sometimes called a 'sequence-specific DNA-binding factor'. Alone or with other proteins in a complex, they promote or block RNA polymerase. RNA polymerase is the enzyme that transcribes genetic information from DNA to RNA for specific genes.[3][4][5]

A defining feature of transcription factors is that they have one or more DNA-binding domains (DBDs), which attach to specific sequences of DNA next to the genes that they regulate.[6][7] Other proteins such as coactivators, chromatin remodellers, histone acetylases or deacetylases, kinases, and methylases, also playing crucial roles in gene regulation. Because they lack DNA-binding domains, they are not transcription factors.[8]

Illustration of an activator

References[change | change source]

  1. Latchman DS (1997). "Transcription factors: an overview". Int. J. Biochem. Cell Biol. 29 (12): 1305–12. doi:10.1016/S1357-2725(97)00085-X. PMID 9570129. 
  2. Karin M (1990). "Too many transcription factors: positive and negative interactions". New Biol. 2 (2): 126–31. PMID 2128034. 
  3. Roeder RG (1996). "The role of general initiation factors in transcription by RNA polymerase II". Trends Biochem. Sci. 21 (9): 327–35. doi:10.1016/0968-0004(96)10050-5. PMID 8870495. 
  4. Nikolov DB, Burley SK (1997). "RNA polymerase II transcription initiation: A structural view". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 94 (1): 15–22. doi:10.1073/pnas.94.1.15. PMC 33652. PMID 8990153. 
  5. Lee TI, Young RA (2000). "Transcription of eukaryotic protein-coding genes". Annu. Rev. Genet. 34: 77–137. doi:10.1146/annurev.genet.34.1.77. PMID 11092823. 
  6. Mitchell PJ, Tjian R (1989). "Transcriptional regulation in mammalian cells by sequence-specific DNA binding proteins". Science 245 (4916): 371–8. doi:10.1126/science.2667136. PMID 2667136. 
  7. Ptashne M, Gann A (1997). "Transcriptional activation by recruitment". Nature 386 (6625): 569–77. doi:10.1038/386569a0. PMID 9121580. 
  8. Brivanlou AH, Darnell JE (2002). "Signal transduction and the control of gene expression". Science 295 (5556): 813–8. doi:10.1126/science.1066355. PMID 11823631.